|Musical Style: Hair Metal||Produced By: Jayce Prime & Mazi Bee|
|Record Label: Glam Nation||Country Of Origin: Finland|
|Year Released: 2009||Artist Website: Desyre|
|Tracks: 11||Rating: 70%|
|Running Time: 53:13|
When the issue of hair metal comes up, it often evokes images of an era gone by. A time when the Los Angeles Sunset Strip scene was in full force and “teased hair” and gaudy clothing and accessories (often in the form of tight denim or leather jeans, spandex, headbands and make-up) was all the range. Musically, it brought a joining of pop influenced catchy hooks, power ballads and shred guitar solos that dominated MTV and FM radio through much of the eighties. Of course, all good things must come to an end, and such was the case when Nirvana and the “Seattle sound” took control of the musical landscape at the start of the decade that followed.
Now, I am sure the last place that you would expect hair metal to launch a comeback would be in Finland, but Helsinki based Desyre stays true to the genre in terms of both its musical leanings and over the top image. Drawing its name from I Thessalonians 5:2, Desyre got its start in 2004 with its first demo, Hair Metal Madness, before following up a year later with its second, Out Of The Blue Into The Red. The group proceeded to go on a year long hiatus only to regroup and begin work on its independently released full length debut from the fall of 2009, Warning Of The Night.
What we have in Desyre is a joining of hair and glam metal, melodic metal and hard rock certain to appeal to fans of Motley Crue, Hanoi Rocks, Dokken, Rage Of Angels, Eternal Ryte, Stryper and a host of others from the same era. The album finds the group delivering an even blend of up-tempo numbers (“Calling” and “The Battle”) and those heading in a mid-paced direction (“Dreams” and “Mr. Hyde In Delite”). An acoustic laced piece is offered (“Undoings Of My Life”) along with a customary ballad (“Ransom”) and “Christmas metal” number (“Yule Night Brightness”).
From a quality standpoint, I would place much of the material here in the good to very good category. Yes, the songs – for the most part – are well constructed but do not always bring immediate hooks that draw you in on first listen, a particular potentially relating to the vocal performance (more on this later). The project is also somewhat inconsistent in that I hit the skip button a couple of times.
The strength of Desyre resides in its musicianship. It all starts with the guitar team of Mazi Bee and Coco Tommy. The two bring some of the best duel lead guitar work you will hear this side of Frank DiCostanzo and Greg Kurtsman (Rage Of Angels). “Dreams” and “Undoings Of My Life” find the two shredding in full force while “Mr. Hyde In Delite” and “No One Knows” reflect a blues based side to their playing. All the while the two decorate the project with their tight as they get melodies and harmonies (kind of like Michael Sweet and Oz Fox of Stryper).
Drummer Jayce Prime puts in a prime performance as well (no pun intended). Along with bassist Mike Seeker, Jayce helps anchor the low end while adding some cool double bass to “Calling” and “The Battle”.
Vocalist Mazi Bee is a bit hit-and-miss. On one hand, his gritty mid-octave vocal flavorings fit well with the music at hand. On the other, he presents with somewhat limited range (his delivery at times can fall a bit flat). So what is the final verdict? While the guy does not lack ability, my feeling is the material here would have stood out further - and gain your attention quicker in the process - with a vocalist along the lines of Jamie Rowe (Tempest), Dale Thompson (Bride) or Dan Mariano (Rage Of Angels). That said, there are those who swear by Mazi’s abilities (I have read several reviewers compare him to a young Vince Neil).
Production values stand out. While the vocals are a bit low in the mix (not a detraction but noticeable nonetheless), everything has its proper place: upfront rhythm guitars, cleanly mixed leads and drums in the needed amount.
Packaging ranks with the best this reviewer has seen on an independent release (right up there with Babylon Mystery Orchestra).
Desyre, a group that believes “glam” stands for God Loves All Mankind, leaves little doubt as to where it stands in terms of its lyrical direction.
Portent keyboards carry the extent of the albums brief (:40) title track.
“Dreams” finds Desyre putting its musicianship on full display, combining galloping riffs in abundance with occasional outbursts of relentless double bass. An extended instrumental interlude finds Mazi Bee and Coco Tommy showing off their adept soloing abilities.
“Can’t Let Go” heads in the heavier direction. With a driving rhythm guitar leading the way, this one navigates its heavy duty verses on the way to a chorus in which harshly delivered backing vocals play a prominent role. An element of contrast is found in the quieter passage just past the halfway point. Spiritual warfare is the subject at hand:
I’m a warrior ready to fight for You
It’s time to raise the Sword
Joined in to fight the good fight
On my way to the One who sent me
Kind of funny how He’s been with me
Right from the start
I have never been a fan of “Christmas metal” songs. It has been my experience that most come across non-descript if not downright corny. There are exceptions to the rule, of course, with Stryper’s “Reason For The Season” being the first to come to mind. “Yule Night Brightness”, unfortunately, trends towards the flat side of things with its disjointed feel and simplistic sing-along chorus. I find the bands attempt at humor at the end to be prosaic.
A faster tempo is maintained on “Calling”, an energetic number highlighted by edgy rhythm guitars and a swiftly moving chorus backed by hard hitting double bass. The pace tempers somewhat for an instrumental section highlighting a tight stretch of guitar harmony. “Calling” proves aptly entitled:
Jesus is callin’ you now
It’s up to you to listen what He has to say
No need to be afraid
The light will never fade
Just come along and see
“Mr. Hyde In Delite” (the bands misspelling and not mine) gets off to a cool start as eerie keyboards and a prominent bass line give way to a hard hitting guitar riff. The quality is maintained the rest of the way, reflected in the songs swarthy – almost bottom heavy – milieu and instrumental excursions reflecting a blues based feel.
The semi ballad “Ransom” brings some emotional touches. Yes, this proves a heartfelt piece with its poignantly charged chorus and occasional left turns into calmer passages sustained by a quietly played guitar. Despite the strength of the music, “Ransom” is one song that might have benefited from a vocalist with a touch more range. Desyre makes a statement of faith on “Ransom”:
He wants to take you in His arms
The Sacrifice He made for you
He never turned His back on you
He let them come and took it all
Ransom – feel the nails rushin’ thru
Ransom – the middleman for us and God
“No One Knows” is another track I find not to cut it. It all revolves around the chorus, which comes across on the awkward side of things. The overall feel I get is lackluster. Otherwise, the song is fine: naturally flowing verses align with instrumental moments heading in bluesy territory.
“Undoings Of My Life” (again, the bands misspelling), in contrast, is one of the albums better tracks. This time around the chorus is well constructed (as a result of its impassioned touches) while an acoustic guitar adds extra layers to its verse sections. A lengthy instrumental section allows Mazi and Coco to again show off their abilities.
“The Battle” brings some riffs that remind me of Eternal Ryte. What we have here is an exciting hard rocker with guts, speed and energy, raging its distance to power drumming and in your face guitars. Double bass returns to round out an instrumental excursion carried by a blistering guitar solo. Desyre again confronts the issue of spiritual warfare:
The battle ceases for the moment
But the war still rages on
We must be strong in God
For the evil forces will attack
I’ve got heaven on my side
Here comes Satan and his troops
Angels verses the demons
Jesus won it all on the Cross
Closing things out is a cover of “Burning In The 3rd Degree”, originally performed in 1984 by Tahnee Cain & Trianglz (from the Terminator soundtrack). Hook driven and catchy, the song reflects traces of keyboards in putting in place a setting bordering on the commercial. More standout lead work puts things over the top. Finally, after several minutes of silence we are led to a Finnish version of “Undoings Of My Life”.
Review by Andrew Rockwell
Track Listing: “Warning Of The Night” (:40), “Dreams” (5:01), “Can’t Let Go” (5:02), “Yule Night Brightness” (4:43), “Calling” (4:28), “Mr. Hyde In Delite” (5:20), “Ransom” (5:11), “No One Knows” (4:07), “Undoings Of My Life” (4:30), “The Battle” (3:56), “Burning In The 3rd Degree” (10:11)
Mazi Bee – Lead Vocals & Guitars
Coco Tommy – Guitars
Mike Seeker – Bass
Jayce Prime – Drums
Mikaela Akrenius – Synthesizers